Treat chronic pain with exercise, not opioids

Treat chronic pain with exercise, not opioids
Updated: Jun. 27, 2018 at 11:23 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Attorney General Mark Herring filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a drug company he says helped prolong the opioid crisis.

While lawmakers join the fight against opioid addiction, some companies are working to help those suffering from chronic pain.

One of those companies is called "Re-Kinect" - a Richmond-based exercise intervention practice.

"I fell in love with ballet when I was four years old," said Richmond Ballet Artistic Director Stoner Winseltt.

There's little else Winseltt would rather do than teach dance with the Richmond  Ballet, but chronic pain nearly kept Winseltt from her passion.

"My kneecap will sort of dislocate in-and-out of the groove, and it's like a sharp, sudden pain," said Winseltt. "I've worked with a lot of physical therapists and doctors, and it's just been an ongoing problem for decades."

Not wanting to turn to opioids out of fear of an addiction, her doctors recommended another solution.

"Medical exercise is essentially the development and delivery of exercise programs for people who have medically-diagnosed conditions," said Amanda Harris, owner of Re-Kinect. "We're really the only medical exercise practice in Richmond."

Re-Kinect focuses on orthopedic conditions, such as post-spinal surgery and post-joint replacement, as well as neurological conditions, such as post-stroke and Parkinson's Disease.

Using a unique system of ropes called "Red Cord," Harris and her team of specialists provide a physical environment where clients can find new ways to recognize and alleviate pain in their bodies.

"There's a rope, so it's pretty much 360 degrees instability around a rope, and we know that that unstable environment creates more communication between the working muscles and the nervous system," said Harris.

Harris says Re-Kinect is not an alternative to surgery or opioids, but it can be a solution for chronic pain once clients consult a medical professional.

"My time with them is so important to me, and to be able to demonstrate more fully what I would like to see and to teach class with less pain has just meant everything to me," said Winseltt.

This method was developed in Norway and can help people of all ages. Harris says she has clients as young as their teens to their eighties.

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